Former Norfolk Southern pipefitter pleads guilty to stealing $447,000 in disability benefits

A former pipefitter for Norfolk Southern railroad could spend 10 years in prison for stealing more than $400,000 from the government.

Norfolk Southern railroad trains. (Southside Daily/Adrienne Mayfield)
Norfolk Southern railroad trains. (Southside Daily/Adrienne Mayfield)

Chesapeake’s Jeffrey A. Ratliff, 60, pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing $447,483 in disability benefits from the U.S. Railroad Requirement Board (RRB), according to a news release from the United States Department of Justice.

Ratliff worked for the railroad for almost 21 years before leaving the job in March 1995.  He applied for a disability annuity in July 1995 for injuries he got on the job in 1990. He said that those injuries kept him from working, but he was employed as a real estate agent, the release states.

During a voluntary interview with federal agents in July 2015, Ratliff admitted to working in real estate and using his wife’s social security number to hide his income.

In addition to prison time, Ratliff could be charged a $250,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 20, 2017.

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Adrienne Mayfield is an award-winning, multi-media journalist hailing from Clermont, Fla. She moved to Lynchburg, Va. on a whim when she was 19, and worked her way to Hampton Roads in 2013. Adrienne is passionate about telling people stories via covering public safety and the judicial system. She isn’t afraid to take a heads-on approach to covering crime, including knocking on doors to get the details police aren’t sharing. Adrienne is a 2014 Old Dominion University graduate who still lives within walking distance of the college. You may see her cruising around Downtown Norfolk on her bike, enjoying a sandwich from Grilled Cheese Bistro or playing fetch with her dog, Greta, at the Colonial Place dog park.